The Most Complex Problem Of All Is To Keep It Simple — I Adopted These 3 Steps
Do these 3 things to adopt simplicity for improved communication, easier execution, and higher productivity.
Complex solutions over simple ones, complicated marketing jargon over clear explanations, and multi-step implementations over direct ones tend to be more accepted than simple ones.
Complex processes can also delay decisions, giving us the illusion of productivity.
Why do we have such a hard time embracing simplicity? And how can we bring complexity and simplicity in balance?
As I start penning down my thoughts here, it reminded me of the famous Antoine de Saint-Exupery quote:
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Simple wisdom, simply shared, reveals the inner workings of your life, exposing the heart of the problem and helping you devise a clear and simple solution. Simple Thinking enables you to achieve this state of clarity and confidence.
- The KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle. According to reports, the KISS principle is a design principle introduced by airplane engineer Kelly Johnson. It states that most systems work best if kept simple, so keep things simple. Kelly Johnson challenged his team to design a jet engine that could be repaired by an average mechanic under combat conditions using only these tools, forcing them to choose stupidly simple design features.
- Less is more. The noted architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who is typically considered a pioneer of modern architecture, always kept repeating this mantra to those who would listen: less is more. He arranged the necessary components in buildings to create an impression of pure simplicity, sometimes using the same elements for several purposes.
- Remove the superfluous weight, then add lightness. Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars and a leader of the modern minimalist movement, urged his designers to “Simplify, then add lightness.” Colin Chapman, who built the world’s first-ever stressed monocoque racing car, constructed his cars with only one sheet of aluminum chassis. He strived to use the least amount of parts possible in his cars. Today, many product designers continue to use subtraction to innovate.
As we have seen, simplicity can lead to innovative thinking and improve decision-making, and complexity is often used to impress rather than to be helpful. We all tend to easily fall prey to the complexity bias.
This does not mean that we should not encounter complexity in our lives. Complex experiences can be gratifying and exciting.
Finding the right balance is a delicate exercise. Ask yourself:
- Is this level of complexity adds to the experience, or is it overcomplicating it?
- What could be eliminated without changing the essence of the experience? Could it be said that complexity is a feature, as opposed to a bug?
- If you are working on a project, ask your team if this is too complex and confusing. Or, is it too simple and boring?
Simplicity is the essence of sophistication. It may sound paradoxical, but you must examine some complex questions to get there.